Tag: Asparagus

Date Night Chop on Butternut Squash with Sage Mushrooms

Date Night Chop on Butternut Squash with Sage Mushrooms

Now faster and even a bit lighter than my older versions. Try this!

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving



I often cook thick bone-in pork chops for guests. In cold weather, they’re served with a creamy and decadent mushroom sauce on a bed of softly mashed root vegetables with a green vegetable or two on the side. Longtime blog readers and friends who’ve eaten at my table will easily recognize the dish that often looks something like this:

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Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad

This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio!  For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day.  I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in.  Be cool!

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Friday Fish:  Instant Pot Salmon and Asparagus Risotto with Lemon

Friday Fish: Instant Pot Salmon and Asparagus Risotto with Lemon

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Working on the recipes for an Italian-Style Easter Dinner Class, I knew I wanted to include an INSTANT POT (IP) something for fun, interest, change of pace, and because so many people ask me about IP.  After testing any number of recipes for an upcoming cookbook (not mine), working on translating a few of my own soup recipes to IP, and reading a couple of IP cookbooks, I decided– given the Italian theme and the stellar risotto coming out of the IP– that the recipe had to be risotto. And since it was spring, that meant asparagus. Of course it’s Lent, so fish needed to make an appearance for Friday. It needed a bit of thinking…

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Friday Fish: Scallops on Tomato-Basil Risotto with Asparagus

Friday Fish: Scallops on Tomato-Basil Risotto with Asparagus

There always seems to be time for certain meals in your cooking rotation. Perhaps yours are something like chicken tacos, lentils with roasted vegetables, veggie chili, pork tenderloin and potatoes, grilled salmon on salad, eggs and bacon, vegetable soup, burgers, or some such round up of goodies.  Is it because these are the things you know best how to make off the top of your head? No recipe needed, eh? Are they the meals it’s easiest to shop for?  The ones all five of you will eat or dishes providing the needed leftovers? Easiest on the budget? The ones you have time for?

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Asparagus-Parmesan Salad with Garlic Croutons

Asparagus-Parmesan Salad with Garlic Croutons


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I rarely think about asparagus without remembering living in Germany and seeing the piles of white asparagus or spargel that the Germans prized so highly in the shops in Rinteln.  A special spring treat grown under odd (to my eye) hills of dirt to keep it from greening up, this asparagus was thick, sturdy, slower to cook than ours, and sometimes very happily heavily sauced.  Our Russian housecleaner, an asparagus afficionado herself, enjoyed horrifying me with stories of her country’s custom of letting farm stock eat asparagus — green asparagus, that is — that grew wild in the field.  Not fit for human consumption, it was just animal food to her.  Great for cattle or pigs.  Eeeeecchhh.   (Read here for a recipe for spargel.)  Knowing how many years we Americans spend developing our asparagus gardens, this made for teeth-clenching mental pictures.

Here and now in the U.S., we often can find asparagus all year round if we eat Fed Ex vegetables, but it is most precious and thrilling in the spring when it is the quintessential harbinger of all the tasty freshness still to come.  I adore cooking the thicker asparagus — I think it’s a bit more flavorful and even more tender as long as you peel the bottom third — but the tall, slim stalks are many shopper’s favorites and that’s what was in the story yesterday. Continue reading “Asparagus-Parmesan Salad with Garlic Croutons”

It Might as Well Be Spring Soup — Lusty Vegan Fare

It Might as Well Be Spring Soup — Lusty Vegan Fare

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Disclaimer June, 2014 :  I  have used the term “lusty vegan” in my blogs without knowing a book by that name was going to be published; I naively thought it was my own phrase.  Just so you know.  Not a thief!

In Colorado, spring comes in fits and starts, swirling itself in and out through March, April, and sometimes May.  There are warm days where we heat up the grill at five pm followed by frozen hoarfrost mornings perfect for stew-making.  We, unlike most of the northern United States, have truly fine days long before the real start of spring; January and February can breed 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit afternoons when the windows are thrown open for the stagnant winter aromas to dissipate into sweet, albeit temporary, breezes floating down from the mountains.  A cook who lives within the seasons and responds accordingly often doesn’t know what to do but be exceedingly spontaneous and keep a daily eye on the weather channel.

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Despite snow still appearing on an at least weekly basis, I have for weeks been dreaming of spring vegetables and a new soup to celebrate them.  It’s not that we have any spring vegetables cropping up (good pun) in Colorado Springs; we have so little rain that locally-grown vegetables are like gold.  And where we live, up on the mesa, it’s bedrock, bobcats, coyotes, deer, and bears.  If you had the good luck to get anything to grow, you could be sure something not-so-human would be eating it.  I grow copious amounts of herbs in pots and often have cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets on the deck.  That’s about it; that’s all I can protect from the wildlife.

below:  one of our local young and scrawny bucks making his way through our back garden

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Still–the idea of spring food is dear to my heart and I have lovely memories of the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market and its bounty.  (In Saint Paul, the Farmer’s Market is still selling winter products, I’m sure.  Way too early to plant, though they’re all dreaming and many are starting seeds indoors.)  Happy spring vegetables like fennel, asparagus, and leeks deserve their very own dishes with luscious and copious amounts of fresh herbs to encourage them along.  While I love asparagus soup ( and who doesn’t), adore leek and potato soup (same thing), and will put sautéed spicy fennel on just about anything, I kept thinking of a soup that featured all of them. Together.

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Marinated Sirloin with Asparagus-Fenced Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Marinated Sirloin with Asparagus-Fenced Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

IMG_5209I admit it’s difficult or a bit embarrassing, maybe, to put up a grill recipe.  It was -12 in St. Paul, Minnesota today.  But it’s 60 here and while winter is only a day or two away from returning, I’ve been taking advantage of our brief spring respite for the past couple of days.

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(above:  first robin in our back yard this spring)

If I drive around the grocery store parking lot, there are still piles of gritty-gray and black snow several feet high.  I know it’s nothing like up north, but winter hasn’t disappeared totally and I know it’ll be back to bite us on the butt again.

(below:  the tiny woods between our house and our neighbors’ this week– complete with young doe who still runs around with her mom)

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